Inflation hike hammers households

Robyn Hall

November 13, 2012

Small upward pressures were contributions from food, non-alcoholic beverages and transport.

However these were partially offset by downward pressures from the housing and household services, recreation and miscellaneous goods & services sectors.

The Retail Prices Index measure of inflation increased to 3.2% in October 2012 up from 2.6% in September. Again the largest upward pressure came from university tuition fees followed by food and housing.

Fuel & light provided the largest downward pressure.

Flora Maudsley-Barton, director of independent financial advisers Parsonage Financial Planning, said the Bank of England was “impotent in the face of inflationary forces”.

She said: “Inflation is hammering households in so many different ways. People in retirement are arguably being hit the hardest in the wake of rising food, petrol and utility prices.

“But the fact that CPI inflation is dwarfing wage inflation adds to the misery the employed are experiencing too. With shrinking disposable incomes people can no longer save or invest even if they want to.”

The impact of inflation on savings means that £10,000 invested five years ago, allowing for average interest and tax at 20%, would have the spending power of just £8,899 today claimed data from Moneyfacts.

Charlotte Nelson, finance expert for Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: “Savings rates are continuing to fall so investors face a real struggle to generate any sort of real return.

“Those in retirement in particular rely on their savings as an additional stream of income to supplement their pension so this will be a real blow.”

To beat inflation a basic rate taxpayer at 20% needs to find a savings account 3.37% per annum while a higher rate taxpayer at 40% needs to find an account paying at least 4.50%.

Nelson said there are currently 965 savings accounts on the market but only 40, three fixed bonds and 37 ISAs, accounts that negate the effects of basic rate tax and inflation and there are no easy access accounts or notice accounts on the market that beat inflation.

And Glenn Uniacke, senior dealer at the foreign exchange specialists Moneycorp, recommended a calmer response to the rise in inflation.

He said: “A jump in inflation had been expected not a leap but the correct response is a sharp intake of breath not a panic.

“Surging inflation will hurt savers and pensioners but it should not derail the recovery.”

And he added: “Much of the increase in prices was down to one-off factors like tuition fees or external ones like energy prices.”

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